How to teach kids the value of money
We all know it’s important to be money smart as adults, but when should you start teaching these skills to your children? Learning how to budget, set savings goals and spend money wisely are crucial life skills, and you can start introducing them to children from a young age. In fact, the earlier you start, the better. There are so many benefits to educating kids about the value of money. Here are some tools and resources to help you teach your children the basics of financial literacy and set them on the right path.
Research shows early experiences children have with money can shape their financial behaviour as adults, and parents have the biggest influence in this respect. Children as young as three or four can start making choices around money and understanding the consequences. Give them some coins to handle and let them choose how they spend them. Make it clear, whatever they choose to buy, they won’t have the money to spend on something else. By age seven, most children are capable of understanding the value of money, saving for a much-wanted item and understanding the choices are irreversible.
Talk about the purpose of money
Help your kids understand the value of money by discussing the different things it’s used for. Take photos of different items in your home and ask kids to classify them as necessities or luxuries, to start a discussion. Include costs they can’t necessarily see such as electricity, gas and hot water. Talk about ways to save money and how adults to prioritise what they spend their money on. You could challenge your children to have a ‘no-spend’ day or to make a recipe using only ingredients you have in your pantry.
Get them engaged
Kids learn the value of money by getting hands-on with it, so playing board games that involve money or shops using real money is a great first step. Taking kids to the shops is one of the best ways to involve them from a young age. Show them what you can buy and how much each item costs. You can also get them to look for cheaper or sale options to meet your budget. Pocket money is a tangible way for children to learn about money and saving. For young children, a money box works well.
There are lots of free resources you can use to teach children about money. Moneyhub.co.nz has a guide to help kids become money smart, including links to apps and activities. NZ app SquareOne encourages children to earn, save and manage money with the help of an adult by providing the child with a debit card and online savings balance that a parent can monitor. Money & Me is a money education program to develop children’s real-world money skills and set them up for financial success. Parents can download workbooks with practical, fun activities to complete with their children, from age five through to 17. Go to mybudget.com.au for more information.